Fact Sheet on Stafford Township Landfill Closure Project April by kbrillhart

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									        Fact Sheet on Stafford Township Landfill Closure Project
                                     April 4, 2006

What is involved in the project? Stafford Township is seeking to close and cap the
NJDEP licensed landfill containing approximately 55 acres of buried garbage and debris
and an “unlicensed” landfill of approximately 25 acres containing approximately 450,000
cubic yards of buried debris located adjacent to the Stafford Township Business Park off
of Recovery Road and Hay Road in accordance with NJDEP regulations. Following a
publicly advertised competitive process, the Stafford Township Business Park
Commission and the governing body awarded a contract to Walters Development
Company in January of 2004 for the assumption of 100% of the costs to close and cap the
landfill and the assumption of the 30 year post-closure costs by Walters as part of a
redevelopment proposal for the redevelopment of the adjacent business park property.
The total size of the project area including the landfill and business park properties is
approximately 360 acres of property.

What is the Stafford Township Business Park and what has the history of the Park
been thus far? The Stafford Township Business Park encompasses approximately 200
acres of property located off of Recovery Road on the south side of Route 72. The
Business Park is located in the township’s Pinelands-designated Regional Growth Center.
It is located adjacent to the old township landfill. The creation and development of the
Stafford Township Business Park was approved by the voters through public referendum
in 1990 and the Pinelands Commission approved the business park property for
development as well in 1990. In spite of aggressive and repeated attempts to successfully
market the property for manufacturing and light industrial uses, the Business Park
Commission met with limited success from 1990 to 1998. The only development that has
taken place in the Park thus far has been two office buildings, the State of NJ DMV
inspection station, a private radio communications tower, county office building, county
recycling center, and county Animal Shelter. In 1998 the Business Park Commission
entered into a contract with Stafford Resorts Development Inc. for the development of the
business park property which included a large shopping center and golf course and the
possible closing and capping of the landfill. When Stafford Resorts Development Inc.
was unable to complete the project, the township and Business Park Commission decided
to make the landfill closure project a focal point of the redevelopment of the business
park property in 2003. It is important to note that the Business Park property has always
been zoned for development since the approval by the voters in 1990. It has never been
designated as “open space” or as “preservation.” Further, the zoning for the Business
Park up until 1998 was for manufacturing and light industrial uses.


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Why does the landfill have to be closed and capped? The township ceased operations
at the Stafford Township landfill in December of 1983. NJDEP and Pinelands
Commission regulations, however, require the township to cap the landfill in accordance
with NJDEP and Pinelands regulations. There are clearly adverse environmental impacts
currently from the landfill including adverse impacts to the groundwater in the area as
documented by quarterly groundwater testing and confirmed by both NJDEP and
Pinelands Commission staff. Moreover, the NJDEP issued a directive to the township to
undertake the immediate closure and capping of the landfill in 2002 OR the NJDEP
would move forward to complete the work and send a bill to the township for the entire
cost! The NJDEP informed the township in 2002 that the township landfill had “moved
up the priority list” and that it was “number 1” on the state’s list of landfills that needed
to be closed and capped. As a matter of fact, the NJDEP hired a private engineering firm,
H2M Associates, in 2003 for the purpose of preparing a preliminary analysis for the
NJDEP as part of the design of the closure and capping specifications. The only reason
the NJDEP did not move forward and undertake the landfill capping project was because
the NJDEP ran out of funding at the time. The Pinelands Commission officially informed
the township that it will not approve any additional applications for development in the
Stafford Township Business Park until the township addresses the closure and capping of
the landfill in accordance with the Pinelands Commission regulations. The township is
legally responsible for the landfill and it is clearly in the township’s best interest from a
public health and safety standpoint to undertake the formal closure and capping as well.

Will the landfill closure have an adverse impact on threatened and endangered
species? Yes, the closing and capping of the landfill and the removal of the buried
garbage and debris will have an adverse impact on two plant species and two animal
species currently found on the site. Specifically, a stand of Little Ladies Tresses and
Kneiskern’s Beaked Rush plants will be impacted due to the necessity to remove buried
garbage located beneath these plants. Tree frogs have also been found in an existing
Pinelands Commission approved man-made detention basin that is slated for removal as
well. Lastly, 2 northern pine snake dens will also be impacted by the trash removal,
earthwork grading, and backfilling process as well. The township and the redeveloper
have submitted a plan for the management of these issues to the Pinelands Commission
and the NJDEP. Specifically the plant species will be replanted in another location, the
frogs will be relocated to a new pond, and an extensive effort will be made to relocate
and track the northern pine snakes. Veterinarians will be examining the snakes and their
condition will be monitored constantly. There are 17,000 acres of known snake habitat
immediately adjacent to the landfill and business park property in the permanently
preserved state forest area. Biologists will be on site during the construction to be certain
that the species are protected.
        It is important to note, however, that these impacts are as a direct result of the
landfill closure and capping process and not the redevelopment project. In other words,
the impact to the threatened and endangered species would be the same regardless of
whether any redevelopment takes place in the business park or not. Unfortunately,
although the township does not condone the destruction of threatened and endangered
species in any way, at times, a balance must be achieved in order to preserve one natural



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resource – groundwater – while impacting another. The township has agreed to purchase
over 500 acres of privately-owned property for open space preservation as part of the
mitigation process.

What is being required by the Pinelands Commission to offset the impacts to
threatened and endangered species? The township is required to purchase 570 acres of
privately owned land for open space preservation and the redeveloper will be required to
purchase 1,700 acres of land through the purchase of Pinelands Development Credits
(PDCs) in addition to incorporating “green building” design measures into their project,
utilizing innovative storm water measures and protecting the existing species in the
manner and method noted above.

What does the landfill closure plan entail? The plan involves the removal of all of the
buried garbage and debris estimated to be 450,000 cubic yards of material throughout the
“unlicensed” landfill area (i.e. in the business park), transfer of that material to the
licensed landfill for proper disposal, backfilling of the “unlicensed” landfill area,
installation of an impermeable “cap” of about 3 feet in depth on the entire licensed
landfill by utilizing synthetic and organic materials and creation of detention/retention
storm water management basins to control and minimize the runoff from the landfill, and
seeding and planting the landfill area with indigenous plant species. There is also a 30
year post-closure monitoring requirement once the landfill is closed.

How was Walters Development Company selected? On August 13, 2003, the Stafford
Township Business Park Commission issued a “Request for Proposals” (RFP) for the
redevelopment of the business park property. The RFP contained detailed information
about the business park and the landfill including a copy of a portion of a report dated
May 2003 prepared by H2M Associates, a private engineering firm hired by the NJDEP
to examine the Stafford Township landfill for the State. The goal of the Business Park
Commission was to try to obtain a commitment from a private redeveloper for the closure
and capping of the landfill as an integral part of the redevelopment of the business park
OR to obtain a large enough sum of money for the purchase of the business park property
to offset the landfill closure costs. The RFP process was a publicly advertised
competitive process and the Business Park Commission sent copies of the RFP out to 23
redevelopment companies throughout the country with experience in development and/or
redevelopment projects. A list of the firms that were contacted is attached hereto.
Follow up phone calls were made and an advertisement was also placed in a trade journal.
Many of the developers that contacted us expressed concern about the “unknown” factors
associated with the landfill closure and capping project. Three (3) proposals were
submitted by the deadline of 10/25/03: Walters Development Company, Benderson
Development Company, and a local group seeking to use the landfill as an off-road dirt
bike area. The off-road dirt bike proposal was not considered based on the fact that the
proposal did not address the landfill closure and capping issues at all and the proposal
would not have yielded a net positive result for the township. The original proposal from
Walters Development Company included the closing and capping of the landfill; however,
the proposal also included the construction of a golf course on the landfill. The original
proposal from Benderson Development Company did not include the closing and capping



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of the landfill; however, the proposal did include a larger development project than the
project proposed by Walters, all of which would be retail. In accordance with the
guidelines in the RFP, both developers were permitted to modify their proposals.
Subsequently, Walters reduced their concept plan by deleting the golf course from their
proposal and Benderson revised their proposal to include the landfill closure and a
housing component. The Business Park Commission heard detailed presentations from
both developers and ultimately awarded a contract to Walters Development Company. It
is important to note that discussion and action by the Business Park Commission took
place during public meetings. The Commission felt that the Walters proposal was more
comprehensive in terms of addressing the landfill closure and post-closure issues and
Walters was a locally based company with a positive track record. A contract was
ultimately signed with Walters Development Company in October of 2004.

Why has it taken so long for the Township to close the landfill? The simple reason is
the exorbitant costs involved and the pure lack of funding. Stafford Township originally
received a permit for the closure and capping of the landfill in 1987 from the NJDEP and
Pinelands Commission. One of the conditions imposed by the NJDEP at the time,
however, was that Stafford Township post 100% of the 30-year post-closure costs in cash
up front in accordance with NJDEP regulations. The township could not, in any way,
comply with this requirement without a major tax increase that would have been
devastating to our residents and which would have financially strapped the township for
years to come. As a matter of fact, this very condition is the reason that many municipal
landfills throughout the state have not been closed and capped. The township attempted
to obtain approval from the NJDEP to modify this condition so as not to cause an
immediate financial hardship to the township; however, those attempts were unsuccessful.
The township was willing to appropriate funds on an annual basis in the township budget
for the post closure costs year by year or, in the alternative, adopt a bond ordinance which
in effect would provide the authorization to borrow money for the costs on an as-needed
basis; however, the NJDEP stated that they could not modify this condition and, therefore,
the township could not move forward with the landfill closure project. Since that time
through the 1990’s the township has been actively seeking alternative ways to address the
landfill closure and post-closure costs; however, the costs to close and cap the landfill
have risen exponentially and the entire project has become too expensive for the
township to undertake without State grant funding which is not available in the amount
necessary to complete the project.


Have the landfill closure and post-closure costs changed? Yes, as the engineering
analysis for the landfill closure and capping project has progressed and more information
has become available, the costs have risen accordingly as the project has grown
dramatically in size. Initially in 2002, the township’s landfill consultant estimated the
closure and capping costs at approximately $20 million based on the best information
available. Since that time, more detailed engineering analysis has taken place including
additional testing and test borings to measure the depth of the buried debris by the
engineer for the redeveloper and the engineer employed by the NJDEP. In addition, the
area of the “unlicensed” landfill has been examined in depth as well and additional buried



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debris has been discovered that will have to be excavated as part of the project. The
current estimate based on all of the conditions we are now aware of is $45 million based
on the township’s costs to close and cap the landfill, removal of all of the buried debris
(approximately 450,000 cubic yards) in the “unlicensed” landfill located throughout the
business park property, backfilling the “unlicensed” landfill area, and the 30 year post-
closure costs. The redeveloper’s actual costs for the closure and capping of the landfill
will be approximately $31 million due to the fact that, as a private developer, they do not
have to comply with the State Local Public Contracts law and the provisions associated
with the statute for projects of this type. There are additional costs associated with the
project including facility relocation, road reconstruction, and other improvements to be
undertaken by the designated redeveloper that are not included in the $45 million as well.

What type of assurances will the township have from Walters concerning the
landfill closure and capping project? Under the terms and conditions of the agreement
with Walters, the redeveloper must post a performance guarantee equal to 120% of the
total costs associated with the landfill closing and capping project and the post-closure
requirements. If, under the worst-case scenario, Walters defaulted on its obligations, the
township can foreclose on the bond and use the financial guarantees posted to complete
the landfill closing and capping project

Is the groundwater being adversely impacted by the landfill? Yes. Quarterly
groundwater testing undertaken by the township over the last 15 years and, more recently,
testing undertaken by H2M Associates for the NJDEP have confirmed that the landfill is
having a negative impact on the groundwater in the area. Specifically, ammonia,
aluminum, arsenic, chromium, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, thallium, benzene and
methylene chloride have been detected above the permissible state testing parameters in
testing wells located in the landfill area and downstream. In addition, surface waters
samples taken at locations along the Mill Creek detected unacceptable levels of ammonia,
fecal coli form, arsenic, methylene chloride and chlordane as well. The township’s
landfill consultant and the consultant hired by the NJDEP confirmed that these results are
consistent with what you would expect to find from an uncapped landfill.

Is “doing nothing” an option? In light of what we now know about the substantial
degradation of the groundwater in the area, we do not believe that “doing nothing” is a
viable option. All of the engineering experts that have looked at this issue (including
H2M Associates hired by the State NJDEP) have come to the same conclusion which is
that the landfill needs to be capped in order to stop the continual leaching of pollutants in
to the groundwater.

Has there been any impact as yet on shallow domestic water supply wells? Not yet.
The consultant hired by the NJDEP reported that 6 domestic waters supply wells are
located within close proximity to the landfill site. Although no wells have been impacted
thus far, the possibility exists that the groundwater pollution can migrate to these areas in
the future.




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Does the landfill contain hazardous waste? There is no indication thus far by any of the
consultants, including the consultant hired by the NJDEP that the landfill contains any
type of hazardous waste. According to the report issued by H2M Associates, the landfill
contains municipal waste, including household, commercial, institutional and vegetative
solid waste. Test borings have been taken throughout the site and there has been no
indication thus far of the presence of any hazardous waste. If hazardous waste is
encountered on the site, work on the site will stop to the extent necessary to evaluate the
waste and to determine if the project can move forward. At that point, the township, as
the owner of the landfill, will have to remediate this unknown condition in accordance
with NJDEP guidelines.

Are there other ways to pay for the landfill closure and capping project? The
township has been actively exploring alternative ways to close and cap the landfill for a
number of years as shown above. First, it is not financially feasible for the township to
issue bonds for this project based on the immediate and devastating impact that this
would have on the township tax rate and our residents. The total costs including the $45
million landfill closure and capping costs plus the interest paid over a 20 year time frame
would exceed $67,000,000. It would be fiscally irresponsible to undertake the landfill
closure and capping project through the issuance of bonds and/or through any other type
of loan program involving repayment by the township. Further, if the township had to
commit to the issuance of bonds or a low interest loan for the total amount, the
township’s borrowing capacity would be immediately reduced by that amount thus
jeopardizing future health and safety capital projects and needs such as fire trucks,
ambulances, drainage projects and the like. Secondly, our consultants have extensively
researched ALL of the available state and federal funding sources and have concluded
there are no viable sources of grant funding in the amount necessary or even close to the
amount necessary for the township to undertake this project independently. In this
process we also reached out to the Pinelands Preservation Alliance to obtain the list they
circulated with possible funding sources. Our consultants examined all of those funding
sources as well and came to the same conclusion. Thirdly, there is no type of “special
one-time” legislative appropriation available to Stafford Township similar to the $15
million appropriation Waretown received from the State of New Jersey several years ago
to close their landfill. Our state legislative delegation, led by Senator Len Connors, has
confirmed that in light of the State’s fiscal condition, there is no way the state would be
in a position to consider an appropriation of this type now or in the immediate future.
The State delayed their pursuit of the capping and closure project due to lack of revenue.
In short, there is no other viable funding source or mechanism to completely fund this
project. Although limited reimbursement funding may be available under a State sales
tax reimbursement program, the reimbursement is limited to the “unlicensed landfill”
only and requires redevelopment of that “unlicensed” landfill only.

What does the redevelopment proposal from Walters Development Company
include? The proposal includes the development of approximately 650,000 square feet
of retail space, 25,000 square feet of office space, 66,000 square feet of recreational space
(i.e. indoor ice rink) and approximately 565 units of market priced age-restricted
housing and 112 rental units of affordable housing.



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Will Walters have to comply with the same land use approval process as all other
applicants? Yes. There are no “shortcuts” authorized in our agreement. Walters will
have to comply in all respects with the township ordinances pertaining to development
applications before the Stafford Township Planning Board and all of the conditions
imposed by the Board.

What will the impact of the redevelopment project be on the local school system?
Based on the fact that the 565 market priced housing units will be age-restricted, we do
not anticipate any adverse impact on the local school systems. Even if the state-
mandated affordable housing project generates school children, the number generated
will not be significant enough to warrant any type of capital improvement modifications
to the school systems whatsoever. Revenue generated from the project will more than
offset any and all costs to the two public local school districts for any students generated
from the affordable housing units.

How does the affordable housing component of the project impact the Township’s
Affordable Housing/Fair Share Plan? The State has implemented a “growth share”
formula under the State Council on Affordable Housing “Round 3” regulations which
means that each market priced residential project and all non-residential development
requires the construction of a given number of affordable units. There will be
approximately 112 rental units of affordable housing required for this project under the
state formula; however, in light of the fact that these will be rental units, the township
will receive “bonus” rental credits of 75 units as well. If this project does not move
forward, the township will likely have to seek another site for inclusion in our plan to at
least replace the 75 rental bonus credits we would have received.

Who pays for the water and sewer improvements in the redevelopment project?
The redeveloper (Walters) is responsible for 100% of all of the development costs
including the construction of all water and sewer infrastructure necessary to serve the
entire project. The Township Water and Sewer Utility Engineer will inspect the
improvements and once completed and approved, the water and sewer mains will be
turned over to the township at no cost. In addition, the redeveloper will be responsible to
pay all water and sewer connection fees for all new homes and buildings connected to the
water and sewer system. Further, the redeveloper is responsible for a “fair share”
contribution, based on a formula, for two (2) future water projects – Supply Well # 11
and Water Transmission Crossing under the Garden State Parkway. The designated
redeveloper has also indicated that they would like to relocate the existing 1 million
gallon water storage tank located in the business park. All of the costs necessary to
undertake the tank relocation, including purchase of a new tank, will be borne by the
redeveloper.

Has a traffic analysis been completed for the proposed project? Yes. As part of the
RFP process, the township Traffic Engineer reviewed both proposals as submitted and
completed calculations concerning what would constitute a safe and acceptable traffic
load for the project area. As noted above, the plan submitted by Benderson had to be



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revised and reduced in scope based on the traffic requirements. The township Traffic
Engineer identified traffic improvements that the developer would have to address and be
responsible for as part of this process including improvements at the intersection of Route
72 and Recovery Road and improvements to the interchange of the Garden State Parkway
at Recovery Road as well. The estimated cost of these improvements is $6.8 million.
Our engineer has been a part of ongoing discussions with the NJDOT and the State
Highway Authority (Garden State Parkway) and the redeveloper and the plan as
submitted meets the requirements of these agencies. The redeveloper will need to obtain
approval from the NJDOT, NJ Highway Authority, and the Ocean County Planning
Board. Clearly the redeveloper will have to go through the same review process as all
other applicants before the Township Planning Board including the submittal of a formal
traffic analysis; however, given the scope of the project it was very important to address
these issues up front to make sure that the projected traffic can be accommodated in light
of the scope of the project. At the end of the redevelopment approval process, the
Pinelands Commission has the opportunity to review the final design.

Has the township calculated the impact of the Business Park project in the build out
analysis of the township? Yes, the township undertook a new, revised Build Out
analysis by our Township Planner in June 2005. As part of that analysis, our Township
Planner assumed that the business park property would be developed in accordance with
the concept plan submitted. This Build Out Analysis included all of the projects
approved to date but not yet constructed, all of the housing projects included in our state-
mandated Affordable Housing Plan, and a projection of the number of residential units to
be constructed on vacant property including the Stafford Township Business Park. If all
available vacant land was developed to the maximum extent possible in accordance with
the current zoning (which is virtually impossible) the total projected population at final
“build out” (estimated to be in 2030) is estimated to be a maximum of approximately
32,000 people. However, in analyzing individual properties and adjusting the numbers
accordingly based on environmental constraints, aggressive and continued open space
land acquisition by federal, state, county and municipal government, and other known
limiting factors, the final build out population number will definitely fall below 30,000
people as we have been forecasting all along. The township has taken action to reduce
the size of our regional growth center as part of our voluntary re-certification process
with the State Office of Smart Growth. We have also designated additional vacant and
privately-owned properties for acquisition under our Open Space Preservation Program.
These actions will clearly reduce the ultimate population build out number further. Based
on the foregoing information, we do not believe the ultimate population will eclipse
30,000 people which is consistent with our Master Plan.

Is Stafford Township “overdeveloped” and/or will the landfill
closure/redevelopment project result in “overdevelopment” of the township?
Certainly not. The township has been extremely proactive in long range planning
initiatives to make certain that the township does not “overdevelop.” The governing
body took action through proactive zoning measures and facilitation of property
acquisition for open space to reduce the ultimate population build out number. Through
these efforts the ultimate population build out numbers have been reduced from a high of



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66,472 in 1976 to 48,725 in 1990, to 38,416 in 1996, and ultimately to 29,957 in 2002.
As an example, through the township’s initiatives and cooperative effort with other levels
of government, over 51% of the township land area, or over 17,600 acres of land are
currently owned by the federal, state, county or municipal government for open space.
That number has been increasing over the last 15 years and it will continue to increase.
Only 12% of the entire land area of Stafford Township is privately-owned vacant land
currently. Much of that land will never be developed due to environmental constraints.
The redevelopment project in the business park is our last major development project.
The township’s long range planning studies have always included development in the
business park and as recently as 2005 our latest “build out” study confirms that the
population projections for the township at ultimate build out continue to reflect a
population of just under 30,000.




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